Chinese state media hopes for best with Trump, prepares for worst

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese state media on Saturday said that it hoped the new U.S. administration of President Donald Trump understood the importance of relations with China, but that Beijing should also prepare for the worst.

FILE PHOTO - A U.S. flag is tweaked ahead of a news conference between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2016. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool

On the campaign trail, Trump railed against China, accusing it of stealing American jobs, and also angered Beijing by taking a call from the president of self-ruled Taiwan, which China views as a wayward province with no right to formal foreign ties.

While Trump made no direct mention of China in his inaugural address, he struck a defiant tone, saying American workers have been devastated by the outsourcing of jobs abroad.

In a front page commentary, the overseas edition of the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily said the two countries should not try to force each other into submission, but look for win-win cooperation and manage their disputes.

“The new U.S. government should realize that it’s normal for these two great countries to have problems and disagreements. What is crucial is to control and manage disputes and find a way to resolve them,” it said.

“China hopes the inauguration of the new U.S. president can be a new starting point for the development of China-U.S. ties,” the paper said.

“The stable and healthy development of relations accords with the interests of both peoples, and is the common expectation of the international community.”

Sister paper the Global Times, an influential publication which often strikes a stridently nationalistic tone, noted that while Trump has said a lot about China, his actual policy has yet to take shape.

“Definitely, the Trump administration wants to boost exports to China and relocate factories from China back to the US. Taiwan will be merely a bargaining chip for them to put trade pressure on China,” it said in an editorial.

The paper said Trump’s China policy will hinge on how well he understands the overlapping interests of the world’s two largest economies and whether he will be motivated enough to change the existing structure with force.

“Undoubtedly, the Trump administration will be igniting many ‘fires’ on its front door and around the world. Let’s wait and see when it will be China’s turn.”

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Shri Navaratnam